Iraq: At least 19 dead as US denies secret agreement over military stay
Three attacks against Iraqi security forces on Wednesday killed 19 people and injured more than 50 across Iraq. In the bloodiest attack Wednesday, a car bomb parked outside a restaurant where local police were having breakfast killed 15 people and injured 41 in the southern town of al-Shumali, said Hillah hospital Dr. Zuhair al-Khafaji.
According to the AP, two of the dead were police, and four others were among the injured, al-Khafaji said.
Earlier, in a dawn attack, gunmen opened fire on a security patrol in northeastern Baghdad. The gunmen escaped after killing two policemen and wounding a third. Later, a bomb went off on a minibus that was carrying soldiers to a training area in western Iraq's Anbar province. Two soldiers were killed and 11 wounded by the bomb.
The attacks come at a sensitive time for Iraq as the Obama administration plans to pull out all military forces by December 31. On its part, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad denied alleged quotes by the Iraqi media attributted by Ambassador James Jeffrey, over the existence of a secret agreement to keep U.S. troops in Iraq after the scheduled withdrawal date at the end of the current year. The embassy spokesman Michael McClellan said the discussions with the Iraqi government on this topic continue. He denied agreements were already reached.